Channel 4 turns on initiative to open up creative careers to young people

Channel 4 is looking to open up the world of television to young people in a new initiative aimed at encouraging them to pursue a career in the creative industry.

4Schools will reach out directly to schools in a bid to encourage inspire students, particularly those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds, by showcasing the broad range of roles in the broadcast, film and digital sectors.

The initiative will initially focus on schools in West Yorkshire, where the broadcaster has a base in Leeds, the West Midlands and the North East, targeting 11-14 year olds.

Channel 4’s managing director, nations and regions, Sinead Rocks said: “We believe that for many young people, if you can’t see it – you can’t be it. That’s why we think there is real value in providing an accessible insight into the creative industries alongside practical advice as to how to get your foot in the door.

“The UK is a world leader in television and film production and it’s incumbent upon us reach out to people from different backgrounds, help young people realise their aspirations and bring through the next generation of talent into our industry, regardless of where they live.”

Matt Burton, the headteacher who became a household name after appearing on Channel 4’s hit series Educating Yorkshire, added: “The next generation of professionals are in our primary and secondary schools right now, and it’s incredibly important that every child is given the opportunity to find out about a breadth of careers – including those in the creative sector.”

“Understanding and interacting with people working in exciting and diverse careers can have a life-shaping effect, and complements the brilliant careers guidance that already goes on in schools across the country.”

The campaign will provide a range of assets to schools to give young people insight into career options across media industries. The activities will bring to life the various types of roles within Channel 4 and the kinds of jobs available at its creative partners such as the 300 independent production companies the public service broadcaster works with each year.

The drive to launch a long-term strategy to reach out to young people from different backgrounds comes after a review published by Ofcom highlighted the backgrounds of people working in the television industry.

The Ofcom publication showed that 59% of employees working in television in 2020/21 had parents working in professional occupations, when the employee was aged 14. This was nearly double the national average of 33%, indicating the challenge and opportunity for the sector to appeal to those from more diverse socio-economic backgrounds.